What happens when an unstoppable force (Louisville) meets an immovable object (LSU)?
This question will be answered when the high-powered Louisville Cardinals offense matches up against the fast and fierce LSU defense in the Citrus Bowl on December 31st at Orlando, Florida (on New Year’s Eve and televised nationally by ABC).
As always, the game will be played at Camping World Stadium (known simply just as ‘The Citrus Bowl’ before the era of corporate sponsorship) in the 69th annual version of the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl game (for you “older” LSU fans, that’s the Tangerine Bowl).
Jan 1, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; A detailed view of the Citrus Bowl trophy on the field prior to the start of the game between the Florida Gators and the Michigan Wolverines in the 2016 Citrus Bowl at Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
The seventh-oldest collegiate bowl game in the country, the Citrus Bowl began as the Tangerine Bowl in 1947. Since 1993, the bowl has hosted top teams from the Big Ten and the SEC conferences.
Now that Ed Orgeron has secured the head coaching position for the LSU Tigers, he can turn his full attention to the Louisville Cardinals.
This game will be a battle of strengths. Louisville boasts the number #2 offense in the country and LSU the #13th overall defense.
Amazingly, this will actually be the VERY FIRST meeting between the two schools in the sport of football, ever.
However, this will not be the first match-up with LSU for Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino.
Petrino coached the University of Arkansas from 2008-2011. He led the Razorbacks to a 34-17 overall record, 17-15 in SEC play and 2-1 in bowl games.
Petrino now has front-running Heisman candidate Lamar Jackson at the helm of his offense. Jackson is a dynamic playmaker at the quarterback position.
Sep 24, 2016; Huntington, WV, USA; Louisville Cardinals head coach Bobby Petrino looks on from the sidelines against the Marshall Thundering Herd in the second half at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. The Louisville Cardinals won 59-28. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
In 12 games played, Jackson has passed for 3,390 yards and 30 touchdowns. Did we mention he was dynamic?
He has also rushed for 1,538 yards and 21 touchdowns. He has accounted for 51 total touchdowns.
Nov 26, 2016; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) runs the ball against the Kentucky Wildcats during the first quarter at Papa John
Now, there have been other players to eclipse this mark. Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes has 53 total touchdowns this year. Still, Jackson is the most dangerous player on the field, and is a threat to score at any time.
Louisville averages 537 total yards per game, good for 2nd in the NCAA. They are 8th overall rushing with 257 ypg and 15th in passing with 302 ypg.
Louisville can score often, and they score a lot. The Cardinals are the number one scoring team in the country, averaging 45 points per game.
It would be more than safe to say that the Cardinal offense is most definitely an unstoppable force. Lets take a look at the immovable object that is the LSU defense.
We all know that LSU, although not ranked in the top 10 nationally (#13 overall) is one of the most complete defensive units in the NCAA.
The Tigers defense allows 306 yards per game, 17th in the country. They are 18th in rush yards allowed with 122 ypg and 37th in pass yards allowed with 201 ypg.
LSU gives up yards but they do not give up points. The Tigers are 6th in the NCAA allowing only 16 points per game.
Sep 10, 2016; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Jacksonville State Gamecocks quarterback Eli Jenkins (7) is tackled by LSU Tigers linebacker Kendell Beckwith (52) and defensive end Arden Key (49)in the second quarter at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports
This match-up will be one of the more exciting games on the bowl season calendar, as it will serve as an “appetizer’ on New Year’s Eve morning for that evening’s two College Football Playoff semi-final games (Alabama vs. Washington; and Clemson vs. Ohio State).
While neither LSU or Louisville were good enough to make the CFP this year, both programs are certainly worthy of sharing the spotlight with the 4 CFP teams on one of college football’s biggest days of the year.
Lamar Jackson will most likely win the Heisman Trophy this coming weekend, while LSU’s defense is loaded with NFL caliber players.
Stay tuned to us here at the Big Easy Believer for more LSU football coverage leading up to the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl……